The number of Americans seeking new unemployment benefits fell again last week to a fresh pandemic low, the feds said Thursday.
Initial worker filings for jobless claims, seen as a proxy for layoffs, reached 376,000 last week, down from 385,000 reported the prior week, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.
It’s the sixth consecutive week of steady declines, but initial claims still remain substantially higher than pre-pandemic levels. The country was averaging just over 200,000 new claims per week in 2019.
The downward trend of new claims is an indication of a labor market that appears to be healing, albeit slower than some economists expected earlier this year.
The US added 559,000 jobs last month, fewer than the 671,000 expected by economists, with some hailing the figure as a sign of progress and others saying US hiring continues to disappoint.
As of mid-May, more than 15.4 million Americans remained on some form of government assistance through all unemployment programs.
That data comes even as US job openings soared to a new record 9.3 million in April, according to data released this week from the Labor Department.
Millions of those Americans on unemployment benefits could also soon see